Alaska SeaLife Center Certified Sensory Inclusive
Visitors to Alaska SeaLife Center can borrow “sensory bags” containing tools to accommodate sensitivities.
The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) in Seward is the first organization in Alaska to be certified “sensory inclusive” for steps that accommodate people with autism, dementia, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Welcoming, Not Overwhelming
“At the Alaska SeaLife Center, we are making it a priority to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible. We strive to be allies and advocates for anyone who wants to join us in our efforts for ocean conservation,” says Jeff Dillon, senior education manager. “We want to make sure we are understanding, welcoming, and supportive of the nearly one in six individuals with an invisible or sensory disability. Being certified and trained through KultureCity is critical to that effort.”
KultureCity is a national nonprofit that advocates for everyone in the community with special sensory needs, not just those with autism. KultureCity has consulted on more than 900 sensory inclusive venues in five countries but never before in Alaska.
In preparation for certification, KultureCity arranged for medical professionals to train ASLC staff on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation.
With this new certification, ASLC is now better prepared to provide guests with sensory sensitivities or sensory regulation challenges the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when visiting.
Prior to visiting, guests can find accessibility information and resources on the ASLC website. Guests can also download the free KultureCity app to view what sensory features are available and the Social Story, which previews what to expect while visiting the Alaska SeaLife Center.
Small measures make a place more welcoming, such as a sign alerting visitors which exhibits might overwhelm their senses.
Sensory bags provided by KultureCity are available at the center for any guest who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads are available free of charge at the ticketing counter. These guests will also be provided with resources that designate what areas may be loud and will have access to a designated quiet area if needed.
“Our communities are what shapes our lives, and to know that the Alaska SeaLife Center is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” says KultureCity Executive Director Uma Srivastava. “We’re honored to partner with the Alaska SeaLife Center to provide a truly inclusive experience for all fans and guests.”